Most way-too-early sports rankings come out immediately after a season ends and a champion has been crowned, many months before the coming season begins. That would make this look ahead to the 2023 NBA draft a way, way-too-early preview.
There are no NBA draft odds markets available beyond the 2022 class, which will be selected Thursday. But with what is known about next year’s class and the available 2023 NBA championship futures odds, we can make an educated guess of which teams will be picking what players at the top of the draft a year from now.
Four teams are tied for the worst championship odds on SI Sportsbook—the Magic, Thunder, Rockets and Kings are all +100000 to win the title. Somewhat unsurprisingly, those four franchises own the top four picks in that order in the 2022 draft. So despite the hype around the reportedly set top three of Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgen and Paolo Banchero, there are no big bets on these rookies stepping in and leading their new teams to the playoffs—or even out of the top of the draft.
The supposed prize possession of the 2023 draft is already locked in—that would be French 7’3” teenager Victor Wembanyama.
SI’s Jeremy Woo wrote about him a month ago in an article titled “Victor Wembanyama Is Why the NBA Is Already Eyeing the 2023 Draft.” Woo said Wembanyama has “gathered as much steam in the NBA community as any prospect since LeBron James” and said the 2023 draft class discourse will differ from the 2022 class where there appears to be some difference in opinion at the top of the draft.
“Barring injury or any unexpected plot twists, Wembanyama will begin his draft cycle billed as a true consensus No. 1 prospect, and will presumably hold that spot until draft night,” Woo writes.
Like Wembanyama, a few of the other top billed prospects will not play in college this coming season. ESPN’s 2023 mock draft has the French big man No. 1, Scoot Henderson of G League Ignite No. 2 and twins Ausar and Amen Thompson of Overtime Elite at No. 5 and No. 6, respectively.
Of course, a lot can change in a year. Even just this week, the odds for tonight’s draft have shifted dramatically. Still, there seems to be a prohibitive favorite to go No. 1 in the 2023 draft before the market is even available.
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